Ideas for a child with no confidence or motivation

(9 Posts)
6timesthemess Tue 12-Jul-16 14:03:40

My son is not going back to school in September and I was really hoping for some suggestions on how to deal with his lack of confidence. He has struggled at school and has found everything so difficult he doesn't want to try anymore. He actually gets upset if you try and get him to read a book or even read anything on the computer etc. He wont even try a meccano set confused.

He has no real likes or dislikes anymore, so I have no idea where to start trying to build his confidence.

I have been putting money aside for something else which I no longer need and so dh and I thought it would be fun to get him a box of things of amazon - activities, books and ideas for us to do next year but I have been sitting here staring at amazon with NO idea what to actually get.

He has fallen behind in his school work so although he is year 5 he is more like year 3/4 level in school work. He would struggle to read something like a goosebumps book.

Does anyone have an suggestions?

I used teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons with my 3 year old and we LOVED it. I would love a book like that for older kids I dont know if that exists!

any ideas? thanks!

Alfieisnoisy Tue 12-Jul-16 14:11:05

Has he had testing for dyslexia and also eye testing too? There may be a physical reason behind his reading issues.
My son went through very similar but in his case it was down to inattentive ADHD which medication solved. However in the absence of anything like this then look at dyslexia or vision issues.

With regard to confidence boosting it would be worth contact your local home ed group...so many people are choosing to home ed now that nearly every area has one. Your son can enjoy learning in a totally different way, there may even be a case for a period of time where he just relaxes and de-schools before picking up the books again.

Locally one of the big Maths groups (which also does English) has a system designed for children who struggle with reading. It's not Kumon Maths but one of the other big names. I am not entirely sure what they are offering but it seems focused in children who find reading hard.

Alfieisnoisy Tue 12-Jul-16 14:12:02

I really feel for him just from your description as I just remember DS being the same...crying if he was asked to read because it was something he found so hard.

6timesthemess Tue 12-Jul-16 14:30:23

He had testing for dyslexia and it came out as very slight - there was a scale of a,b,c etc with a being no dyslexia and b being very mild. He was b.

I am really nervous about taking him out of school but if we just ignore things he will just give up totally.

Saracen Tue 12-Jul-16 15:44:25

Give him time with no pressure to perform in any way - not even a Meccano set! With time, he will discover what he enjoys and start attempting things which are a bit of a challenge. If his confidence is low, he may not be ready for anything like that now. I wouldn't go buying anything just yet, in case it doesn't suit and simply represents more pressure from his POV. He'll perk up and you'll find a use for that money soon enough!

Meanwhile, offer him opportunities to do whatever low-pressure things you imagine he might possibly enjoy: walks in the woods, watching TV, visiting relatives, playing with pets. If he doesn't want to read, what about reading to him? You could take him round a few museums with no agenda to "cover everything", but just wander and look at whatever grabs his interest.

Would he like to play with other kids? Does he have friends or cousins he could meet up with?

ommmward Tue 12-Jul-16 17:28:43

listen to Saracen. Rule of thumb is to allow a month of recovery time for every year spent in school (assuming no major trauma) before starting to impose anything that looks educational.

Get yourselves doing fun active things, build his confidence, listen to him, answer his questions. DO NOT SPEND MONEY ON EDUCATIONAL STUFF until you are quite sure that he's properly recovering his mojo and it won't set him back.

Give it time <3

Saracen Tue 12-Jul-16 22:50:59

Sorry, I should have explained my rationale before diving in with specific advice.

Put yourself in your son's shoes. Throughout all the recent years of his life, he has been spending six hours a day in a place where all the emphasis is on doing things which he doesn't do well. Perhaps there has been homework on top of that, plus his parents' (completely understandable) additional attempts to fix the problems plaguing him at school by working with him at home.

Although people at school may have paid lip service to the idea of a well-rounded education, the reality is that they don't care very much about whether he can tell you all about dinosaurs, or climb high, or make up excellent songs, or nurture animals, or build a snug den. At school, none of that matters much. Teachers' priorities are that he should be able to read fluently, produce quick neat handwriting, and do arithmetic.

No doubt they focus on these subjects with the best of intentions, and not solely because they themselves are being assessed on how well they can get kids to jump through those particular hoops. Teachers know that a child who isn't very good at the "three R's" will have more and more trouble keeping up in most other subjects and displaying his understanding so he can get good marks. But good intentions don't alter the fact that such an environment has felt soul-destroying for him.

Outside of school it is a different story. You don't have to hyper-focus on these few subjects. You can look at the whole child and all the skills he needs in life. You can educate him through other methods besides making him read books, and check his understanding in other ways besides making him write essays. He doesn't have to be defined by school-style academic performance, and see himself as a failure.

Once he's free of all that, his confidence will return. Why wouldn't it? There are bound to be many things he loves and which he is good at. All his wonderful talents, which have been undervalued at school, are being eclipsed in his mind by the huge shadow of the things he can't do. He'll see them again when that obstruction, failure-at-school, is lifted.

Saracen Tue 12-Jul-16 23:14:41

I want to tell you about my second child, who is the same age as yours. She has learning difficulties. I'd venture to guess that her academic skills are considerably less advanced than your son's. She doesn't know that. It doesn't have to matter how she compares to other children of her age. She doesn't sit in a classroom alongside other kids of her age, trying to do what they are doing (or being given separate, easier work, or "extra help" from a TA). She doesn't observe every day that her best efforts don't meet the teacher's expectations.

She just learns whatever she's ready to learn, when the time is right.

She is happy. She is confident. She sometimes describes herself as "clever" because people admire her ingenious Lego inventions and the intricate dolls' accessories she fashions out of bits of rubbish. She can't read yet - she will - but that inability doesn't define her in her own eyes or anyone else's. She hasn't spent a big chunk of her life in a place which values reading above inventing.

There are many reasons I home educate. For this particular child, self esteem is top of the list.

6timesthemess Tue 12-Jul-16 23:37:35

Thanks so much for your posts Saracen!

You are right I think I just need to relax about it!
i have focuses a lot on reading and writing with him. This last few months I have backed off because the tears and upsets were just too much. This has meant being called in to the school and accused of "not helping" because I haven't forced him to do his homework each day.

I will take your advice of not forcing anything for a few months. he is really interested in minecraft and roblox and he really enjoys cooking so perhaps we can just spend some time doing those things together.

I know it sounds silly but I feel like I am going to get into trouble for NOT forcing him to do handwriting practice or phonics cards. Like someone is going to knock at he door and demand to test him blush

Your daughter sounds fantastic I hope that my son will have such a positive experience of bein at home flowers

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